Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


RECKLESS (1935). Director: Victor Fleming.

By the time agent Ned Riley (William Powell) realizes he's really in love with his client, singer-dancer Mona Leslie (Jean Harlow), Mona is being swept off her feet by the wealthy Bob Harrison Jr. (Franchot Tone). Harrison even goes so far as to buy out every seat for a performance of the show Mona is in. Mona's wise old grandmother (May Robson) scolds and gives sage advice in equal measure. Rosalind Russell turns up as Harrison's kind of forgotten fiancee, Henry Stephenson is his concerned father, and little Mickey Rooney is his usual charming self as an enterprising youngster befriended by Ned [perhaps the film's most touching sequence has Rooney trying to help out Ned when he thinks he's down and out]. If that cast weren't enough, we've also got Allan Jones singing a romantic ballad in his inimitable way, Leon Ames turning up both with and without his mustache, Charles "Ming the Merciless" Middleton playing a district attorney, and Margaret Dumont showing up for one line as a heckler in the theater! Powell, Harlow, and Tone are all just marvelous, and Robson almost manages to steal every scene she's in. The story veers in unfortunately melodramatic directions, but the film still manages to be quite entertaining. And that cast! A new remastered edition has been released by Warner Archives.

Verdict: Crazy script but a feast of fine actors! ***.

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